A capacity for self-propelled locomotion being one of the hallmarks of what we define as “life,” it follows that keeping track of living things is by no means a simple task. Most creatures, including human beings, are curious by nature, and our innate wanderlust is a manifestation of that curiosity. It’s what has spread our species to every (habitable and not so habitable) corner of the globe, and so we have devised a complicated system of paperwork and documentation to make sure that people are who, what, and where they say they are. Think of I.D. cards, passports, and such as livestock tags for humans.
Whether you own one head of cattle or thousands, it is important to manage your herd properly. At its most basic level, “herd management” means keeping track of your cows through some means of reliable identification. In previous centuries, this meant simply guarding against loss or thievery. One of the oldest methods of doing so was to mark the animals permanently with a brand, which left on the skin a unique identifying symbol to establish ownership of the animals.
Nowadays, the purposes for identifying cattle have multiplied. In addition to proving ownership, those who keep cattle should also maintain accurate records regarding performance, breeding, origin of the animal, its health, vaccination history, and intake of antibiotics and other medicinal treatments. Of particular importance is the need for “Animal Disease Traceability” (ADT), intended to help prevent the spread of brucellosis and other types of serious contagious infections among herds. Continue reading “Guide to Cow Tags and Other Cattle Identification Methods [Infographic]”